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Pres

Member Since 02 Apr 2010
Offline Last Active Today, 10:36 AM
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Topics I've Started

Fall To Winter Projects

06 October 2014 - 08:11 AM

Temperatures here have been dipping into the lower 40's at night, and the shop is in need of heat early mornings. As Winter makes its way, I will be finishing up the chalices and patens for next Spring, finishing Christmas gifts, and completing some Canister sets. When Winter make it here, shop will be closed down til Spring. Electric is just too expensive to heat a brick garage for sub freezing temps.

 

What will you be doing for Fall, and Winter?


Kudos To Marcia For Her Article In Sept/oct 14, Pottery Making

27 August 2014 - 01:52 PM

I just finished my preliminary peruse of the latest Pottery Making Magazine. The article by Marcia Selsor was an excellent introduction to the Obvara process. Excellent pictures of pots with close ups of textures. A nice, but brief historical background, and a summary of the process.  Thanks for your contribution Marcia, great work!


Wedging

04 August 2014 - 08:41 AM

In the past, I have often written that I wedge all of my clay even though I take it right out of the bag. There are several reasons for this, and I wanted to take a few lines to explain them further and throw out some ideas for thought. My reasons for wedging clay for the last 30+ years are as follows:

  • If the clay came out of the pug mill, it usually needed to be blended to an even consistency, remove air bubbles, dry it our some, and line up the particles so that for better strength.
  • If out of the box at home, it had usually frozen over the Winter here in Central PA. Freezing drives water out of the clay to the outside, and leaves all sorts of striations in the clay block. I start wedging this by turning all sides into the center with cut and slam, then cut and slam the entire block about 5 times, finish by spiral cone wedging the clay into weighed out pot sized amounts.
  • Wedging as exercise. I wedge clay for exercise, as crazy as that might seem, but when throwing for hours at a time, the break to wedge up the ball of clay to be used on a pot down the line is a welcome way of stretching the back and shoulders. This also brings me to the final reason I forced myself to not be lazy about wedging clay.
  • Finally, wedging as therapy. Years ago I was in a bad auto wreck that left me with some damaged vertebrae. This caused lots of pain in the lower back for decades. Some days I could hardly get out of bed without levering my body out of bed with the weight of my legs. I found that hanging from an overhead bar would stretch the back and help some. However, my go to exercise became wedging because of the way the process worked. . . .  at least for me. The process of wedging lifts the shoulders upward and back as you push against the clay and at the same time the shoulder lift and the body movement stretches the back muscles and the spine itself. With regular rhythm and movement in the wedging process where you are not trying to hurry the job, or wedge too much clay you can do wonders for you core and spine.

So, I leave this open to comment, and I am sure many of you will go on about getting a pug mill, which for me would be a big investment, but as I get older I have been looking for a good used one. However, even with a deairing pug mill, I would still probably wedge for the last two reasons above.


Bad Habits You Would Like To Break.

08 July 2014 - 04:23 PM

All too often when working in studios by ourselves with no one else around, we get poor habits while working. Maybe it is something we have had for years, or something we just picked up within the last few years. A few of mine. . .

 

  • wiping my hands on my pants instead of a towel or rag while throwing.
  • waiting too long to clean the wheel up, everything is crusty, and so has to be soaked down to soften before cleaning.
  • Doing the same with the floor.
  • Not putting tools away once I use them, either that or developing a better tool organization system.

These are just a few of mine I have noticed lately, what are yours?


How Do You Educate The Customer?

15 May 2014 - 01:39 PM

How do you educate your customers about your work. Do you teach him some simple tricks to use when looking at ware?

 

Long story short, many years ago I had a customer at my home buying several Communion sets. I had set out 25 sets for him to choose from, and we did some changing around of chalices with the plates to match what he saw in the way of pairs. We were having a discussion of why I paired up chalices and patens, and decoration details etc. when he noticed a paten setting by itself.  I had a Paten(plate) set aside that had a beautiful finish with decoration that had come out quite well. He wanted to know why I was not including it in the selection as he thought it was beautiful.  I told him it was a reject, and I was going to use it around the house. He pushed the issue, so I held up the plate with fingers supporting it underneath, rapped it with a wooden dowel. I then did the same with one of the ones in the sale. I asked if he noticed a difference, and after an explanation of cracks, and overtones in sound got him to listen closely again. He could then hear the second sound. I then showed him where the crack was, and he said he would have never seen it unless I had pointed it out. I told him, that it may last years, or a few days, but that the crack was a flaw and I could not sell it. Before packing up the 20 sets purchased, he was happy to check each plate and each chalice to see if he could find a crack I had missed-nada.